Apple acquires rights for action thriller “Emancipation” starring Will Smith for $120 million

Apple Studios dropped $120 million to acquire the rights for “Emancipation”, an action thriller movie about a slave’s life and his escape during the civil war to join the Union Army. The movie will star Will Smith as ‘Peter’ and will be directed by Antoine Fuqua.

Emancipation’s purchase is the festival’s largest deal in its history. The Cannes Virtual Film Market was held in June and had several interested bidders for ‘Emancipation’ which was the signature film at the event. Warner Bros and Apple Studios were the highest bidders but Emancipation eventually went to Apple Studios.


Emancipation will feature a historical background with an emotional plot that will focus on Peter’s struggles to escape his captors and his barefoot using his smartness and strength.

The film will first premiere in theatres, followed by an around the world release on Apple TV+. Production for Emancipation is expected to begin in early 2021.

Apple is a big advocate of civil rights and in light of recent Black Lives Matter Movement protests, it launched ‘Apple’s Racial Equality and Justice Initiative’ with a commitment of $100 million. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, also wrote an open letter against racism to show solidarity with the movement. The narrative of Black Lives Matter took a stronghold after the brutal murder of George Floyd by the police.

Other Titles on Apple TV+

Apple has also bought the rights of a few other titles like:

  • Killers of the Flower Moon for $180 Million, which will be an adaptation of a David Grann book, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro.
  • Greyhound, a WWII drama written by Tom Hanks and directed by Aaron Schneider. It will premiere on July 10 on Apple TV+.
  • Swan Song starring Mahershala Ali.
  • On the Rocks starring Bill Murray and Rashida Jones.
  • The Sky is everywhere with A24.
  • Sharper starring Julianne Moore.


Apple is expanding its services and featuring more movies and TV shows that it offers to Apple TV+ subscribers. The streaming service already offers a number of titles including The Morning Show, Dickinson, Truth Be Told, Ghostwriter, and more.

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